Historians' group honors SUNY Oneonta lecturer


SUNY Oneonta history lecturer Susan Goodier was recently named a distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.

Created in 1981, the Distinguished Lectureship program includes nearly 600 historians around the country with various areas of expertise in United States history, according to Organization of American Historians' website.

"OAH’s Distinguished Lecturers provide a vital service to communities, libraries, museums, and universities by increasing public awareness and understanding of the importance of American history," Organization of American Historians Executive Director Katherine M. Finley said in a media release by the organization. "This is especially valuable today as our nation faces unique challenges."

Goodier is also the book review editor for the New York History journal and a New York Council for the Humanities public scholar, according to the SUNY Oneonta history department webpage. She focuses on women's activism from the Civil War through World War I, according to the webpage. Goodier also focuses on the discrepancy between the way United States policy affects various groups of women and how it affects men.

"The reality of our public policy is that it effects different groups, ethnicities, women of color differently," Goodier said. "Our constitution guarantees all citizens equal rights, but our policies treat us differently."

Goodier said she's also fascinated with how people throughout history have pushed for their rights. Women first getting the right to vote and the Civil Rights Movement are examples of people participating in a "bottom up expansion of democracy," she said.

This is something she said she thinks is especially important to keep in mind heading into the upcoming election.

"Yet there are people who have failed their commitment who don't follow through with those rights," Goodier said. "It's really important to exercise your right to vote."

Goodier said she applied to be an Organization of American Historians distinguished lecturer in a previous year, encouraged by her mentor Sally Roesch Wagner of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue in Fayetteville, New York. She had experience traveling around the state speaking to audiences as a public scholar, which she said was good preparation for the distinguished lecturer title.

Though she wasn't selected then, the Organization of American Historians kept her application on file and confirmed that she got the title this year, she said.

Goodier said she's excited about further opportunities to speak out of state and to be able to reach people through her lectures, whether they are academics or the general public.

"I enjoy talking to students at different institutions, people who are just interested," Goodier said. "I like diversity in my audiences, including generational diversity. I enjoy it. It's just what I look forward to."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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